Rep. Mark White’s (R-Memphis) second bill, HB660, that if left unamended, would have allowed the governing boards of state colleges and universities to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, failed in the House Education committee yesterday, but he has put it back on next Tuesday’s calendar and will ask the committee to reconsider its action.
Republicans Jimmy Matlock, Terri Lynn Weaver, Ron Lollar, Roger Kane, Debra Moody and Dawn White, voted “no” on the bill.
Republicans Eddie Smith, Mark White and Harry Brooks, along with all Democrats on the committee, voted “yes,” except that Democrat Rep. John DeBerry was absent when the vote was taken making it more than likely that the bill would have passed had he been present.
Mark White could have chosen to roll his bill until all members were present to vote, but chose not to and let the vote move forward.
According to sources at the legislature, Rep. DeBerry, a proponent for giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition, is pushing for a motion to reconsider White’s bill.
It is not clear whether any motion to reconsider White’s bill will require a two-thirds vote of committee members, which would take ten votes to revive the bill, or a simple majority which would be just seven votes.
White’s bill failed for lack of a majority on a 6-6 vote that was taken on a “roll call” as opposed to a voice vote, meaning that the votes of each individual committee member was recorded. However, the General Assembly website which normally reflects the roll call votes on each bill, shows “0-0” for yesterday’s vote on HB660.
Rep. Eddie Smith voted against Mark White’s other bill that would have granted in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, but voted for White’s HB660, which, if reconciled with the companion bill carried by Sen. Todd Gardenhire and passed by the Senate Education committee, would restore the disputed Section 5 of White’s bill allowing the higher education governing boards to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students.